How to Start a Travel Blog in 5 Minutes
After 7 months spent traveling solo through Europe in 2010 (without a phone or computer), I came home with a lot of memories. But I knew those memories would eventually begin to fade. I wanted hard evidence of my travels, and I wanted to remember what it felt like and what was going through my head at the time. I knew I’d be traveling a lot more in the future, so deciding to start a travel blog was the obvious answer.
Whether your plan is to monetize your travel recommendations, become a travel influencer, or emerge as a travel writer, starting a travel blog is a great way to look back on your travels, reminisce about your journey, and share it with the world. Here’s how you can get started.
1. Name It
You need a name for your blog, so that’s where you want to start. Decide whether you want it to reflect your name, or if you want to go with something cute and clever that reflects who you are or the kind of travel you like to do. I love learning about food culture wherever I go, and I knew my writing would focus heavily on culinary experiences and food history. I chose to call my blog The Rouxx, a roux being the mixture of flour and fat that forms the base for classic sauces. I added an extra ‘x’ because I loved how the friends I had met in Ireland always signed their emails with an ‘xx’ for kisses. Put some thought into potential names, ask friends and family for their opinions. Then plug it into the domain search to see if your first choice is available. If it’s not, you’ll see alternative suggestions.
2. Own It
Once you’ve found the name you like and it’s available, purchase your domain. You’ll also need to decide on a host. This list gives you a breakdown of popular domain hosting services and pricing. You can buy your domain from the company you choose to host with, so that’s 2 easy steps that can be knocked out together. My domain runs about $15 per year.
3. Build It
Now you need an actual website, so you need to decide where you want to build it. If you don’t have experience with coding, not to worry. There are plenty of content management systems out there that let you “drag & drop” to build your site, so you don’t need to be versed in any special website nerd jargon. You can use this chart to skim through the capabilities of some of the most popular site-building software and find what works for you. I use Squarespace and love the minimalist simplicity, and hosting there costs less than $100 per year.
You’ll be tasked with deciding on a “theme” or template for your site, and my advice is not to get too excited about any of them until you’ve done a little work ahead of time. Some themes are better for writers, others are better for photographers, some for video files. Think about the long-term layout of your blog posts and how much writing there will be versus imagery and other content. Think about how frequently you’ll be blogging, whether you’ll be posting a 200-word blog every day, a 500-word post each week, or something more long-form like 1,500 words just once per month. My writing started as a long-form narrative so posts were less frequent in the beginning since those take a lot of time to write. Eventually, I started freelance writing for other travel blogs, and I wanted to add a page for those contributions. Then I also incorporated a food blog, so I needed to add another type of layout.
Consider all of the future potentials for your blog and make sure the template you choose can adapt down the road. Think about how you want your pages, especially your home page, to appear when you’ve amassed a collection of writing, and how users will sort through it to find what they’re looking for. Then revisit the template gallery and make your decision based on the long-term layout of what you’ll produce, not just what looks sexy as a template. I speak from experience here, as I’ve spent plenty of time rebuilding pages to better suit the long-term goals of my site. Think about the future before you start to build.
Start with the bones: add your logo, a bio page, and link all of your relevant social media. Decide how many pages you want and create their layouts. Once you’ve got the structure, you’re ready to start adding the substance. I’d suggest having a few pieces posted and available to read before you launch, just to give visitors a few posts to peruse. Once you’ve got something you’re happy with, you’re ready to share your site with the world!
If you’re ready to have something to blog about, book a trip with us to get the ball rolling!
Erin Skahan, a writer for Dipaways, is a food & travel writer based in Dublin, and you can read more about her travel experiences on her website, The Rouxx.